Things That Matter

The Internet Has Come Together To Fund The Funeral Of Leilah Hernandez — An Odessa Shooting Victim Who Had Just Celebrated Her Quince

Our Texas familia has had a difficult and heartbreaking August. At the beginning of the month, a domestic terrorist attacked an El Paso Wal-Mart, targeting the city’s Latinx population. The attack resulted in 22 deaths and harmed dozens more. On the final day of August, another domestic terrorist went on a shooting spree along the West Texas interstate spanning two cities. The assault started in Midland, Texas and ended over 20 miles away in nearby Odessa. 

When the massacre was over, 7 people were dead and 25 were wounded.

Leilah Hernandez was one of those 7 who died in the Odessa/Midland shooting. 

Twitter / @BeccaFromTX

The 15-year-old had recently celebrated her Quinceañera and was the youngest victim to lose her life because of this assault. Hernandez died at the scene, wrapped in her older brother’s arms. The pair were out shopping with their parents for a truck. Her brother, Nathan, remains in Intensive Care as he receives treatment for his injuries. Understandably, Leilah’s family is reeling from her tragic loss.   

To help cover Hernandez’s funeral cost and medical bills for the family, her father set up a Go Fund Me campaign. The fundraiser reads, “Please help out our family as we had a tragedy today” and features a portrait from Hernandez’s Quinceañera.

Though the campaign has only been open for 3 days, it has raised over $24,000 for the grieving family. 

Twitter / @Nathan_H001

The campaign has been shared over 6,000 times and has nearly 500 contributors. Though the fundraiser has earned over double its goal, it is still accepting donations to help Hernandez’s family during this horrific time.

Besides monetary donations, the Go Fund Me page has been swarmed with condolences from those impacted by the news of Hernandez’s untimely death.

  Go Fund Me

Many donors expressed their frustration with our government’s failure to enact gun reform legislation. Many feel that the only way to avoid further deaths by assault rifles is to make the weapons more difficult to obtain. If our representatives act in our nation’s best interest and regulate these weapons, deaths like Leilah’s could be avoided 

Nathan’s bravery was acknowledged in the condolences and comments left on the fundraiser. 

Go Fund Me

Nathan’s injury resulted because he was attempting to shield his sister. He suffered a gunshot to his arm while holding Leilah. Unfortunately, he wasn’t able to save his sister from the bullet that took her life but he held her and offered her comfort in her final moments. His bravery should be acknowledged and commended. We’re sure Leilah is very proud of her big brother.

Some saw parallels between Hernandez’s family and their own. 

Go Fund Me

This donor shared that her own daughter recently celebrated a Quince ⁠— just as Hernandez did this past May. The comparison goes to show that this could happen to any family. Mass shootings have become an epidemic and it seems that no space is safe. The thought that these tragedies could touch our lives is terrifying but it’s a reality we need to acknowledge. 

Others shared their condolences and prayers for the family. 

Go Fund Me

“We have to help,” this comment begins. Though prayers alone won’t change the world we live in, hopefully, the enormous outpouring of love, well wishes, and prayer will provide some comfort to the Hernandez family. 

We hope Leilah’s family and the families impacted by this tragedy are comforted by the support being shown by their communities. Let’s continue to help these victims in their recovery and hope something changes to avoid the next seemingly preventable tragedy. 

 
 
 
 

Kansas City Police Are Looking For Two Men Suspected Of Shooting Patrons Of A Tequila Bar

Things That Matter

Kansas City Police Are Looking For Two Men Suspected Of Shooting Patrons Of A Tequila Bar

Sherae Honeycutt / Facebook

It was a normal Saturday night for Tequila Kansas City Bar (TKC) bartender, Jose Valdez. He was serving new customers and old when a familiar, unwelcome face walked in at 11 p.m. asking for a drink. Valdez refused to serve the man, recalling the issues he’s caused the bar in the past. The man threw a glass at him and he was promptly escorted out. At 1:30 a.m., the same man walked back into the bar with a friend and handguns. Smoke filled the tiny room as they shot people at random.

Four Latino men were killed and five other victims were wounded. TKC is a private, members-only bar that has always been regarded as a “safe space” for the Latino community. Three of the slain were second-generation TKC patrons. Their parents were also members.

TKC usually staffs a security guard, but he didn’t show up that night.

Credit: @OfficialJoelF / Twitter

The owner of Tequila KC Bar told KMBC reporter Matt Evans that the bar scheduled a security guard that night, but “he never showed up.” Kansas City, Kansas Police confirmed that they had arrived on the scene earlier in the night. The suspect had picked a fight with someone as he was being escorted out and the two brawled outside. By the time the police arrived, the fight was over and they left.

Shock and adrenaline allowed the wounded to escape from the bar before the pain set in.

Credit: @ellemoxley / Twitter

Two hours later, the suspect arrived with an accomplice and handguns. Survivors recall hearing at least a dozen gunshots, and could barely see through the gun smoke.

“They went off so quick I didn’t think it was gunshots,” customer Michael Barajas told the Kansas City Star.

The two gunmen are still at large.

Credit: Kansas City Police Department

Police have released security camera images of the suspects, in hopes that anyone who recognizes them will come forward. Police have yet to name the suspects, and police spokesman Officer Thomas Tomasic told The Kansas City Star that he doesn’t believe the shooting was racially motivated. “It’s a pretty small bar,” Tomasic told the paper. “You have two guys come in, start shooting, people are just running. People are just running wherever they can.”

Victim Alfredo Calderon had a 6-year-old son and 4-year-old daughter to raise.

Credit: Alfredo Calderon / Facebook

While police haven’t released the names of any of the victims, some family members are coming forward to remember their deceased. Juan Ramirez told reporters that his 29-year-old nephew, Alfredo Calderon, died in the shooting. “We’re just in shock and disbelief,” Ramirez told The Kansas City Star, adding that his nephew had “nothing to do with it.”

This wasn’t bartender Valdez’s first shooting either. “I don’t know what to make of it,” he told The Kansas City Star, through tears. “A sad day for everybody who lost their lives and their families. How can you go into a place full of people and just start shooting?” He said he hugged his own niños Sunday morning, saying “pray to God I’m here.”

When a witness’s fiancé was shot, she tried to stop the bleeding and “held him till he took his last breath.”

Shay Celedon was at TKC with her best friend and her fiancé, both of whom have yet to be identified. Celedon said the two were waiting until after her niece’s quinceañera to get down to wedding planning hoping to tie the knot in October 2020. The three were enjoying their night until they witnessed the violent fight outside the bar. Celedon got a sinking feeling and decided to go home for fear that “something bad would happen.”

“None of it really seems real right now,” she told CNN. “We were sitting here yesterday evening having drinks with my best friend’s fiancé. I go home, go to bed, get woken up two hours later that he’s deceased, and she held him till he took his last breath, and tried to bring him back and keep pressure on his gunshot wound. And it was just one fatal shot that took him from us.”

Tequila Kansas City Bar “was a home away from home, you could say.”

Credit: Sherae Honeycutt / Facebook

Toni Maciel, 36, knew seven of the nine victims personally. While she returned to TKC the following day to be with her “TKC family” and community, she doesn’t feel safe anymore. Maciel knows the wife of the alleged shooter. During a karaoke night just two days prior, she witnessed him physically abuse his wife. Maciel intervened and asked him to leave. “This was a home away from home, you could say,” she told The Kansas City Star. “But after this, I don’t know what would happen with our community.”

Tequila Kansas City Bar hosted a vigil for the victim Sunday night at 7 p.m.

As we report on this story, the community is gathering around TKC to pay vigil to the deceased. Kansas Governor Laura Kelly released a statement saying she continues “to be frustrated that these mass shootings and killings occur with regular frequency. Our nation has an obligation to address this ongoing public health crisis.”

READ: Some People Claim This Sandy Hook PSA Has Gone “Too Far” In Illustrating the Impact of School Shootings

A Gun-Loving Bro Came For Kamala Harris On ‘Jimmy Fallon’ And She Wasn’t Having Any Of It

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A Gun-Loving Bro Came For Kamala Harris On ‘Jimmy Fallon’ And She Wasn’t Having Any Of It

Scott Eisen / Getty Images

Kamala Harris appeared on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, where she slow-jammed the news and dunked on a gun-loving college bro. The audience was made entirely of college students who, during one segment, got to ask Harris a question. When someone tried to challenge Harris’ position on gun control, she was happy to set him straight on the matter.

While the United States does not have the most gun violence of any nation, it has the most gun violence of any developed nation, and honestly, it isn’t faring too well when compared to developing countries. 

“The United States has the 28th-highest rate of deaths from gun violence in the world: 4.43 deaths per 100,000 people in 2017 — far greater than what is seen in other wealthy countries,” according to NPR. “And the national rate of gun violence in the U.S. is higher than in many low-income countries.” 

That time a college student tried to come for Kamala Harris

During a segment, Senator Harris and Fallon took questions from an audience of college students. A bro from Fordham University named Andrew tried to come for Senator Harris’ wig. Now, regardless of how you feel about her, one thing is objectively true about Harris — she is a no-nonsense, cunning prosecutor who can think quick on her feet. I would not try her. 

“Do you believe in the mandatory buyback of quote, unquote, ‘assault weapons,’ and whether or not you do, how does that idea not go against, fundamentally, the Second Amendment?” Andrew asked.

It was at this moment that I began to fear for Andrew’s life. Harris was happy to state her position. 

“Great question, I do believe that we need to do buybacks, and I’ll tell you why,” Harris said. “Let’s be clear about what assault weapons are, they have been designed to kill a lot of human beings quickly, they are weapons of war, with no place on the streets of a civil society, I’ve seen assault weapons kill babies and police officers.”

Harris said she plans to take executive action regarding gun control if elected President and if congress fails to ban the importation of assault weapons, pass universal background check requirements, and mandatory buybacks. 

Harris dunks on bro using his own experiences

Then Harris led Andrew through a little mental exercise by reminding him of what country he lives in — the one where mass shootings are a regular occurrence, you know that one. 

“How many of you guys, as college students, had to have a drill during high school or middle school or elementary school or even in college were you learning about how you need to hide in the closet or crouch in a corner in the event that there’s a mass shooter roaming the hallways of your school?” Harris asked.

Of course, Andrew’s hand went up along with everyone else’s. Shooter drills are the new normal for American students.

“Look at that, look at that. And here’s the thing, it terrorized you. It is traumatizing. I don’t want that any of our children should have to sit in class when you should be paying attention to what’s happening in the front of the classroom, letting your mind open up to the wonders of science, math or our, or whatever, and instead have to be worried about who’s going to come banging through the door carrying some kind of weapon,” Harris said. 

Leaders need to lead on gun violence

“Leaders need to lead on this issue. So I’m telling you, when elected, if Congress fails to act, I will give them 100 days to get a bill on my desk for signature, if they do not do what I will put in place, by executive action, a comprehensive background check requirement and a ban on the assault weapons and importations of assault weapons in our country,” Harris said, finishing her speech with. “I’m done.” 

Andrew was no longer standing, the crushing weight of being owned on national television seemed to have taken the wind out of him. He didn’t need to take several seats just the one to realize the audience, who was roaring with applause at Harris, did not share his ignorant beliefs. 

Support for gun control is at an all-time high

It should be said that most Americans don’t share Andrew’s beliefs. Gun control has overwhelming bipartisan support. People are pretty against themselves randomly being killed by gun violence, which makes sense. So while it is the GOP preventing legislation from passing, it is not for a lack of support from Republican constituents! This is why Democrats, Republicans, and Independents should be demanding that the Republican Senate pass legislation — oh wait, we all have been for years they just don’t care if we live or die as long as those donations from the National Rifle Association keep coming in.